The United States Is No Longer the World Leader in Resettling Refugees

For the first time, Canada is now No. 1.

Syrian refugee children walk in mud after heavy rain this month at a refugee camp in Bar Elias, Lebanon. Bilal Hussein/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

For the first time in more than three decades, the United States is not the world leader in resettling refugees. That title now belongs to Canada—a nation with fewer people than California.

Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in 2018, according to a new analysis from Robert Falconer, a researcher at the University of Calgary’s public policy school. It is the first time in the 72 years of modern refugee resettlement that Canada has taken the top spot.

In 2018, Canada took in far fewer refugees than it did in 2016. What’s changed is that President Donald Trump is cutting the number of refugees allowed into the United States to historic lows.

After the United States adopted the Refugee Act of 1980, it resettled more refugees than every other country in the world combined for more than 30 years in a row. That ended when the United States took in only 33,000 refugees in 2017, fewer than half of the 69,000 accepted by other countries, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the United States admitted nearly 85,000 refugees. That fell to a record low of 22,491 in the 2018 fiscal year. For 2019, the Trump administration has said it will take in no more than 30,000 refugees.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest